Following months of preparation, our attack on the 2009 East African Safari Classic is finally under way. Despite the very different desert terrain, day 1 saw us off to a great start, with Gerard Marcy and Stephane Prevot finishing first in their Tuthill Porsche, seventeen seconds ahead of second place.
“There were some soft places in there with sand,” Gerard told the official Rally website. ” I thought my tyres were all on very low pressures or something as there was no acceleration and no braking, but it was just the feel that surface gave. Otherwise, the car is perfect and we are happy to be starting first.”
Other Tuthill drivers enjoyed slightly mixed fortunes, but all are delighted to be off the blocks. Paul-Eric Jarry and Jean-Francois Andreoli had a trouble-free run to finish twelfth in their Tuthill 911, with Thomas Flohr and Didier Breton just two places behind them.
Steve Troman and Calvin Cooledge in their new-build Safari car had a minor off which cost a little bit of time, but still managed to finish just two minutes behind the leaders.
Our final driver/navigator pairing of Martin Aguirre and Luis Mirasol, new to the Safari Rally, finished slightly further down the field, but this is a long, tough event. Consistency and reliability will play a big part in the results.